POST OPERATIVE EAR CARE

There are multiple methods on how to post a cropped ear post operatively, ranging from backer rod, paper towel, tampons, premade metal frames to the zip tie method. More than one posting techniques will work if the principles are applied correctly. I have personally used the backer rod and zip tie methods and have had great luck with them. I can only give guidance on the methods that I have used and am comfortable with.

If you do not have one of my puppies and need help posting, this page is here for your convenience for teaching purposes. I am happy to help in any way that I can! Please note I will not be able to help anyone who is doing a posting method in which I am not familiar and comfortable with.


Supplies Needed for the Zip Tie Method (this is the method I personally use) :

Thickest zip / duct tie you can find (I buy mine from Walmart in the hardware section), you can reuse the same zip tie until a new size is needed and then cut a new one.

1-inch zonas tape / cloth tape (can be purchased at Walmart)

Can of Torbot or Ostobond skin glue (purchased on Amazon or Walmart.com)

Duct Tape

Scissors

Cotton gauze squares or cotton balls

Rubbing alcohol / adhesive remover solution / Uni-Solve

Gold bond medicated powder

If you have any questions what so ever, please do not hesitate to ask.

THE BASICS OF ANY POSTING…

When the puppies are born the ears a very soft and floppy. At about 7 to 8 weeks (give or take depending on their genetics and quality of nutrition) the ear cartilage will begin to harden. If the ear is cropped and properly taped in an upright position, they will harden upright. They still have an ear muscle control, they will flatten or perk up the ears, but the ear set is up rather than floppy and down. Time out of the ear posts during the hardening phase will the ears down or permanently crease the ears in a floppy position. They NEED to be consistently and properly posted until totally done or they will not stand.

All my puppies that are cropped are done between 7 and 8 weeks of age. I have personally cropped a puppy at 12 weeks of age, but it is much harder to get the ears to stand and takes longer for them to stand.

At first the puppy’s ears will be taped to a Styrofoam cup on top of their head, they look pretty silly but also so adorable. They will need to stay up in the cup for the first 7 to 10 days. Normally puppy’s that are cropped will stay with me until the stitches are removed and the 1st post is completed this is the best way to have your puppy and their ears get the best possible start, this is usually between 10 to 14 days post crop procedure.

The ears should be re-posted every 5 to 7 days, or immediately if they get wet, fall out or are SUPER crooked. With the backer rod and other posting methods (excluding the zip tie method), I would recommend re-posting every 3 to 5 days as moisture can get locked into the ear canal therefore causing an ear infection and causing head shaking. With the zip tie method, they may be able to stay in longer as long as they stay secured and dry. The first couple of times you post the ears you may want to take them out sooner to check on how things are going, ensuring that there is no infections starting or sores developing and making sure that you have ample cushioning in the ear canal.

I usually post my puppies ears for a minimum of 6 weeks post operatively, but some may need more or less time it all depends on the genetics of the individual puppy, the nutrition he / she is receiving and supplements he / she may be getting or not getting (I recommend giving Vitamin C, MSM for the entirety of your puppy’s life, but during the ear posting time frame I recommend also adding Collagen and Gelatin supplements, both can be found on Amazon or Walmart.com, please ensure you are using supplements that are MADE in the USA).

After 3 to 4 weeks of continuous posting (again changing every 3 to 7 days depending on the posting method being used) I start to “test” the ears. I start by taking down the posts and allowing the puppy to be, waiting to see how long the ears will stand on their own. You must re-post at the first sign of weakness, with retesting every week until the ears finally stand on their own. Sometimes ears will sporadically need to be re-posted as your puppy goes through all the different growth stages. During these times just use the posting method that worked best for you. If your puppy’s ears feel soft do not test them, clean the ears and immediately re-post them.

When you test the ears… at first the ears will stand for only about 20 to 30 minutes, then an hour or two, the half a day, a whole day and even a week or two. Just test and post as needed until the end. Be careful NOT to undo all that hard work by leaving the ears down for too long or when they aren’t ready to be left un-posted.

The general rule of thumb is that for every few hours spend unposted and the ears are falling / tipping / bending (any position other then the whole ear straight up) equated to 2 weeks added to the posting time. At some point the cartilage is fully developed and hardened, by that point if the ears aren’t standing on their own it may be too late fix them. When in doubt POST! It will never hurt to post for longer to ensure that the ears will stay standing.

Towards the end (on average around 4 to 6 months of posting) the base will be very strong and hold the ear up. You may think you are done BUT the tips tend to like to curl at the ends and may start to drag the ear inward or downward. The ears are done BUT just the tips need support. This is where the breath right strips come into play, this method should only need to be used for about a month or two.

**At about 6 months old your puppy will be teething and potentially be mid growth spurt. During this time the ear cartilage may temporarily weaken / become soft. It is VERY important to post through it as you will lose all the hard work you have put in if they are left to flop.

 


The do’s and do not’s

Do not allow puppy to sleep over-night un-posted unless they are completely done, and ear cartilage are hardened. Sleeping is when the ears will make the most progress, for the better or for the worse depending on if they are posted or left to fall.

Do not ever use vet wrap (the stretchy, self-sticking wrap used by athletes also called co flex or flexy wrap, etc.) it tightens and shrinks over time from heat and movement and will cut off ear circulation and require the ear to be completely amputated.

Do call / text / email anytime with pictures and questions if something doesn’t look right.

Do not feed foods that are labeled as “puppy formula”

Do not give calcium supplements


Below are videos of a couple of different options for posting. I personally use the Zip Tie and Backer Rod methods. And again if you ever have any questions please shoot me an email / text / call. 

ZIP TIE METHOD

BACKER ROD METHOD

FOAM CURLER METHOD

I have never used this method but I know this breeder and love their method and will be trying it out.

BREATHE RIGHT STRIPS FOR EAR TIPS

BREATHE RIGHT STRIPS

Use these at the very end when the ears are up but just the tips are curling or falling inward or out and need some help.

I use the biggest strongest ones you can find with the Torbot, Ostobond OR eye lash glue *the strips will not stay on without glue*


THE END

Each puppy is “done” on their own time. You cannot rush perfection. The key is to keep posting! It never hurts to post a little longer. You will know when you are done and can always reach out to me. Ear posting is not rocket science, if you follow along with these videos I have provided, have the correct materials on hand and keep the ears posted for as long as they need to – the ears will turn out amazing. Posting will come with ease in no time.

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